Gaga Says Digital Album Only Worth 99¢

An interesting Ben Sisario blog in the N.Y. Times proclaims, “In Lady Gaga’s Album, Evidence Of A New Order.”

“A paradox of the new music industry: Albums sell less and less well every year, but as a marketing tool they are now more important than ever,” says Sisario.

The writer is referring to the fact that although Gaga’s Born this Way sold over one million debut week units, over 40% of them were digital units priced at 99¢ by Amazon.

“Once an artist’s biggest source of income, recorded music now plays second fiddle to touring, endorsements, merchandise sales and an array of other revenue streams once considered ancillary. That’s especially true for an artist like Lady Gaga, who has lined up more branding and promotional deals in the last six months than most artists will in a lifetime.”

However, not all parties to the achievement shared equal joy. Ish Cuebas, Trans World VP is quoted saying,

“I don’t think it sends a good message. I can understand what Amazon did, but I think it devalues music even further. In the customer’s mind it’s worth 99 cents.”

Although it is easy to see why competing retailers would be especially unhappy about Amazon’s low price special, most surprising was a statement from Lady Gaga to The Wall Street Journal when asked if she thought her new album was worth more than 99¢.

“No. I absolutely do not,” said Gaga. “Especially for MP3s and digital music. It’s invisible. It’s in space. If anything, I applaud a company like Amazon for equating the value of digital versus the physical copy, and giving the opportunity to everyone to buy music. It also wasn’t really 99 cents, because Amazon paid the difference on all of those purchases as part of their promotional campaign for one of their new services. I think it’s amazing and it was a really nice surprise and I felt honored that they chose my record to be part of it.”



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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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